'Superhero' Eoin is in agony - but HSE called off his spinal op twice
After a wait of two years, a Meath family were left devastated when their teenage son's spinal surgery was cancelled at the last minute because of a shortage of nurses.
Eoin Ward's family have now made a heartfelt appeal to Temple Street Children's hospital in Dublin to ensure the rescheduled operation goes ahead on Friday to help alleviate their son's pain from a 94pc curvature of the spine.
If not, his parents Catriona and Declan, from Clonard, say they were told the next earliest date they will get for an operation is February.
Eoin, who is mostly peg fed, had been told last July that he needed surgery as soon as possible.
The 16-year-old constantly smiles despite pain from holoprosencephaly, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and scoliosis.
After waiting for two years, Catriona and Declan were elated when Eoin was given a surgery date for last Monday.
However, those hopes were dashed when his operation was cancelled twice within 24 hours, initially because of bed shortages and then a lack of nurses.
The Wards decided to appeal for help through the media to ensure their son's operation does not get postponed again.
"When we finally got a date, we were delighted that, after two years, Eoin was finally getting the surgery he needed," said Catriona, who is also mum to Ellen (13) and Daniel (11).
"We see every day how much pain he is in. We even had a family Christmas party last week because we thought this was happening.
"I got a call on Sunday to say surgery was going ahead. But 90 minutes later, we got another call saying that it was cancelled due to two emergencies.
"I was devastated. I then got a call at 8.45am on Monday to say a bed had become available and that surgery was going ahead. We rushed to the hospital and had all the pre-op tests.
"Then Eoin's surgeon told us the operation couldn't go ahead because they were one nurse short in the intensive care unit.
"I'm told that nurses are working 72-hour shifts as it is, so I'm in no way blaming them.
"I'm laying the blame totally at the feet of the Government and the HSE.
"Every year they promise extra staff, extra beds, extra help. Eoin's spine is now so bad, they can't X-ray it - imagine hearing that as a mum.
"Eoin is our superhero because he smiles every single day without fail and we are going to do everything in our power not to let that smile fade."
Children's Health Ireland said: "Due to several weeks of significant pressures on in-patient beds due to respiratory virus that impacts on children, CHI at Temple Street has had to postpone inpatient admissions for surgery.
"The decision to delay admission is not undertaken lightly and when such a decision is made, it is based on the safe delivery of care to all patients."